Hello everyone, this is Michael Wu. I am the principal scientist at Lithium technology, a social customer experience platform for large brands and enterprises. That means we provide the platform that drives valuable customers engagement for both the brand and their customers.

You can follow me on twitter via @mich8elwu

To understand what make an effective incentive program, we must understand the behavior implication of your program, because all incentive programs, at least those that I know of, require the participants to do something in order to get the incentive.

So I am going to tell you about a behavior model that governs human behaviors. Professor Fogg at Stanford University proposed this model and he theorizes that underlying every single human behavior, there must be a temporal convergence of 3 factors, and they are motivation, ability, and trigger. The most important aspect of this model is the temporal convergence. That means all 3 factors must occur at the same time in order to reliably drive the desire behavior effectively.

Now, nearly all incentive programs focus on the motivation factor by offering incentives to motivate the participants to do something. Few of these programs use a good trigger, and almost none of them take into account of the ability of the participants.

So, besides providing relevant and valuable incentives, an effective incentive program must also give the participants greater ability. And that is achieved by empowering them with the necessary resources to take the desired action. Finally, the program must trigger the user into action at the right time. And the right time is when the participants are motivated and has ability. Remember, motivation, ability and trigger must all happen at the same time to drive behavior, which is the goal of the program in the first place.

Human behavior is a very deep subject. If you want to learn more about this subject, please check out my blog.